Biografia: Oliver von Dohnányi
NEW: MUSIC DIRECTOR of the PILSEN OPERA HOUSE (J.K.Tyl - Theatre)
CONDUCTOR-IN-CHIEF of the SLOVAK SINFONIETTA CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
“If I Rest I Rust”
Laureate of the European Prize by the European Union of Arts 2011
Laureate of the Gustav Mahler European Prize 2011
NEWS: My recent production of Bellinis Norma for Opera North, U.K. (stage director Christopher Alden) was Finalist in OPERA INTERNATIONAL AWARDS 2013 and has been already awarded a prestigious ‘Achievement in Opera’ award at the Theatre Awards UK 2012
Oliver von Dohnányi studied conducting with Professors Václav Neumann and Alois Klíma at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Prague, and with Prof. Otmar Suitner at the Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna. He furthered his skills in master classes of renowned conductors Igor Markevitch, Arvid Jansons, and Franco Ferarra. Achieving success in the final rounds of several major conducting contests (including the Hungarian Television Conducting Competition in Budapest, 1983; or the Prague Spring Talich Conducting Competition, 1985); he won the prestigious Premio Respighi in Italy.
In 1979 he became a Conductor of the Bratislava Radio Symphony Orchestra, a post where he was active for seven years. He made an impressive list of symphony and opera recordings for Slovak Radio, many of which were released on such labels as Naxos, Marco Polo, Supraphon, Panton, Verga, and Opus. In 1986 he took over as Principal Conductor of the Slovak National Theatre (opera), where he created several remarkable opera productions, including Prince Igor (Borodin), Tosca (Puccini), La Sonnambula (Bellini), Il barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini), The Bartered Bride (Smetana), Rigoletto (Verdi), and others. His farewell production, Gounod’s Faust, staged there by Jozef Bednárik, marked a breakthrough in the opera tradition thus far established at Bratislava, and won exceptional acclaim of audiences, not just in the former Czechoslovakia, but also internationally, in Hungary, Germany, Italy, and Israel. At the Edinburgh Festival, the production won Special Award in the Music category. Maestro Dohnányi took the Slovak National Theatre opera company on numerous international tours, visiting among other countries Spain, Germany, Russia, Hungary, the Netherlands, and China. In parallel with his work there, he was likewise active as a Conductor of the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra in Bratislava, and as a permanent guest conductor of the Capella Istropolitana chamber orchestra with which he reaped triumphs both in the recording studios, and on numerous concert tours and festival appearances (the Bologna Festival in Italy, German and Austrian tours, and a concert series for the Austrian Radio, ORF).
From 1993 – 1996, and again from 2004 – 2007, he was Conductor-In-Chief of the National Theatre in Prague. There, he prepared and conducted many opera and ballet productions, including among others Smetana’s Libuše and The Bartered Bride, Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, Puccini’s La Bohème and Tosca, Verdi’s Rigoletto, Saint-Saëns’ Samson et Dalila, Bellini’s Norma, Prokofiev’s Cinderella, or Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Don Giovanni and Le nozze di Figaro. With the last three, he scored remarkable successes during the company’s regular Japanese tours.
Elsewhere, Oliver von Dohnányi conducted the English National Opera’s productions of Boito’s Mefistofele, Verdi’s Falstaff, and Lehár’s operetta Die lustige Witwe. In 1998 he was in charge of a concert performance of Smetana’s Libuše at the Edinburgh Festival. For many seasons a guest conductor of Opera North in Leeds, where he conducted productions of Carmen (Bizet), Hamlet (Thomas) and La Gioconda (Ponchielli), as well as two major vehicles of the Czech opera repertoire, Smetana’s The Bartered Bride and Dvořák’s Rusalka. Since 1999 he has conducted at the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe, where he has to his credit productions of Macbeth (Verdi), and Roméo et Juliette (Gounod). In 2000 he made his American debut, with the Chicago Sinfonietta. His recording of the television opera, Memento Mori, by Slovak composer Juraj Filas, with the Prague Symphony Orchestra, won a special prize at the Salzburg Television Festival. Since 2001, he has worked regularly with the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. In 2004, he made a highly successful appearance at the famed Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Argentina, conducting Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. In 2011 he made his New Zealand debut, conducting Cavalleria rusticana and I Pagliacci, followed by the Bartered Bride in 2012.
From March 2006, he held the post of Artistic Director of Opera at the National Theatre of Moravia and Silesia in Ostrava; in June 2006 he was appointed Principal Conductor of the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra in Bratislava; and since the same year, he has simultaneously been permanent guest conductor of the Zagreb Philharmonic and of the Croatian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Zagreb. Since 2007, he has been permanent guest conductor of the Staatsoper Stuttgart. In March 2007 he conducted a new production of Smetana’s The Bartered Bride at the Baltimore Opera in the USA. In 2009 he conducted a North Italian Tour with a new production of Turandot with Giovanna Casolla, Francesco Hong and Filharmonia Veneta.
As a guest conductor, Oliver von Dohnányi has directed with formidable success a long list of prominent international orchestras, including among others, the Yomiuri Nippon Tokyo, St Petersburg Philharmonic, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Hungarian National Philharmonic, the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Portuguese Symphony Orchestra, the Brno State Philharmonic, the Czech Philharmonic, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Auckland Philharmony, the Vector Wellington Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, the London Mozart Players, the English Northern Philharmonia, the RSO Lugano, I Solisti di Napoli, the RSO Saarbrücken, the RSO Basel, the Porto Philharmonic, the Irish National Philharmonic, the Ulster Orchestra in Belfast, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra Glasgow, or the Orquesta Filarmónica de Buenos Aires. He conducted several concerts with famous Soprano Edita Gruberova, including a concert performance of Norma.
Mo.Dohnanyi speaks fluently english, german, italian, spanish, russian, hungarian, czech and slovak.
National Theatre Prague (Music Director 1993 – 2007):
Libuše and Prodaná nevěsta (The bartered Bride, Smetana), Romeo et Juliette (Gounod), La bohème and Tosca (Puccini), Rigoletto, Traviata and Aida (Verdi), Samson et Dalilla (Saint-Saëns), Norma (Bellini), Cinderella (Prokofjev), Die Zauberflöte, Don Giovanni and Le nozze di Figaro (Mozart). With the last two, he scored remarkable successes during the company’s regular Japanese tours.
Slovak National Theatre Bratislava (Music Director 1986-1990):
Madama Butterfly (Puccini) with Peter Konwitschny, Prince Igor (Borodin), Tosca (Puccini), La sonnambula (Bellini), Il barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini), Prodaná nevěsta (The bartered Bride, Smetana), Rigoletto (Verdi), Faust (Gounod), Macbeth (Verdi) Many international tours - Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Russia, Hungary, the Netherlands and China
English National Opera:
Mefistofele (Boito), Falstaff (Verdi), The Merry Widow (Lehar)
Opera North, Leeds:
Carmen (Bizet), Hamlet (Thomas), La Gioconda (Ponchielli), Prodaná nevěsta (The bartered Bride, Smetana), Rusalka (Dvořák), Norma (Bellini)
London Barbican Centre:
Ernani (Verdi) starring M.Guleghina and F.Armiliato
Königliche Dänische Oper Copenhagen:
Falstaff (Verdi), Jenufa (Janacek)
Teatro Colon - Buenos Aires:
Die Zauberflöte (Mozart)
Bavarian State Opera Munich:
Romeo und Juliette, Cinderella (Prokofjev), John Neumeyer – Ballettabend (Ravel Mozart), Ein Sommernachtstraum (Mendelssohn)
Stuttgart State Opera:
Norma (Bellini), Jevgenij Onegin (Tchaikovsky)
NBR New Zealand Opera:
Cav&Pag (Mascagni-Leoncavallo) 2011 Prodaná nevěsta - The bartered Bride (Smetana) 2012
Moravian-Silesian National Theatre - Opera Ostrava, CZ:
Faust (Gounod), Don Giovanni and Le nozze di Figaro (Mozart), Carmen (Bizet), Ariadne auf Naxos (Strauss), Dalibor and Prodaná nevěsta (The bartered Bride, Smetana), Vita (Marco Tuttino) Anna Bolena (Donizetti)
Teatro Comunale di Bologna L’Olimpiade (Josef Mysliveček)
Opera Zürich Rusalka (Dvořák), Romeo et Juliette (Prokofjev)
Teatro San Carlo, Napoli Alexander Nievsky and Romeo et Juliette (Prokofjev)
Staatsoper Budapest La traviata (Verdi), Tosca (Puccini)
Opera Osaka (Sakai) Don Giovanni (Mozart) La traviata (Verdi) La bohéme (Puccini)
Baltimore Opera Company, U.S.A. Prodaná nevěsta (The bartered Bride, Smetana)
Opernhaus Basel Mefistofele (Boito)
Santiago de Compostella, Spain Die Zauberflöte (Mozart)
Cervantes Theatre Malaga, Spain Jenufa (Janacek)
Opera Rovigo, Italy – North Italian Tour - Turandot (Puccini) starring G.Casolla
Opera Brno, CZ - Don Carlos (Verdi), The Case Makropulos (Janacek) - G.Benackova
Nationaltheater Mannheim Tosca (Puccini), Don Giovanni (Mozart)
Britten Festival, Aldeborough Ariadne auf Naxos (Strauss)
Staatstheater Karlsruhe Macbeth (Verdi) and Romeo et Juliette (Gounod)
Staatstheater Kassel Der fliegende Holländer (Wagner)
Nationaltheater Weimar Don Giovanni (Mozart)
Wexford Festival, Irland Der widerspenstige Zähmung (Goetz)
Edinburgh Festival – Concert performance of Smetana’s Libuše, starring Eva Urbanová
Live TV recording for MEZZO TV and DUNA TV Vita (Tuttino) 2009 Gala - Concert for MEZZO TV and DUNA TV 2010
Norma (Bellini) Concert performance, starring Edita Gruberova - Budapest – Bartok Hall and Bratislava – Slovak Opera House, The Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, Hungarian National Chorus
Concerts with following important orchestras:
The Czech Philharmonic, Tonkünstlerorchester Wien, The Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo, Sankt Petersburg Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Chicago Symphonietta, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra, Hungarian State Philharmonic, Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, Radio Symphony Orchestra Zagreb, Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica Portuguesa, English Chamber Orchestra, London Mozart Players, The State Philharmonic Orchestra Brno, Northern Philharmony Leeds, Radio Symphony Orchestra Lugano, I Solisti di Napoli, Radio Symphony Orchestra Saarbrücken, Radio Symphony Orchestra Basel, Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife, Orquesta Sinfónica de Mallorca, Orquesta Nacional do Porto, National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Chamber Orchestra Amiens, BBC Belfast, BBC Glasgow Orchestra, Orquesta Filarmónica Buenos Aires, Szeged Philharmonic, Pannon Philharmonic/Pécs, Debrecen Philharmonic, Slovak Sinfonietta, Adana Philharmonic, etc.
Previous positions and activities:
Intendant and General Director of the State Opera, Prague until 2010
Artistic Director of the Slovak National Theatre, Bratislava (SK)
Artistic Director of the Moravian-Silesian National Theatre, Ostrava
Music Director of the Opera of the National Theatre, Prague
Conductor-in-Chief of the Slovak Radio SO, Bratislava (SK)
Recordings for Naxos, Marco Polo, Novalis, Supraphon, Panton, Verga and Opus
One of only two living conductors for Norma!!! Thank you!!!
Chris Schneider, Opera Now
At the centre of this fine performance is Oliver von Dohnanyi, an opera conductor of a quality we seldom see.
Under the baton of Oliver von Dohnányi, the Orchestra of Opera North sounded incredibly dynamic, veering from the delicately pretty to the booming and powerful, and as soon as the opening Sinfonia’s intense, soaring strings began, I was utterly gripped. He elicited great strength from the Orchestra of Opera North, drawing every drop of elegance and passion from Bellini’s sensational score. As intriguing as Christopher Alden’s production is, it’s the music that steals this show.
Chorus and orchestra respond splendidly to Oliver von Dohnanyi’s conducting.
Whats on stage
The orchestral playing taut and dramatic under Oliver von Dohnányi.
Oliver von Dohnanyi conducts a consistently exciting interpretation.
Opera North's chorus are scarily stern, while conductor Oliver von Dohnányi brings energy and finesse to Bellini's deceptively simple accompaniments.
Oliver von Dohnányi conducted a pretty ravishing account of the score, with the opening thunderous and full of evil portents. He accommodated his singers extremely well, which is rarely achieved today, especially in this repertoire. The tempi were all well judged. Musically, the Opera North performance of Norma was an unexpected triumph.
Musically speaking, as a whole the performance was impressive – conductor Oliver von Dohnányi and the Orchestra of Opera North never put a foot wrong.
The orchestra under Oliver von Dohnanyi combines spit, polish and style.
Slovak conductor Oliver von Dohnanyi perfectly captures the sweetly, sensuous Czech character of the score, and the Orchestra of Opera North responds with a sumptuous, Wagnerian sound. There is a luminescent quality to the playing; every nuance bathed in light by the beautifully clear acoustic of the Grand Theatre. An immensely rewarding evening.
Oliver von Dohnányi conducts with affection and skill; every tiny pause, every touch of rubato sounding completely natural.
The Arts Desk
Oliver von Dohnanyi has a sure feel for the score’s rolling phrases, his greatest achievement is to make a clear distinction between spirit and human worlds, the latter more hard-edged, the former more impressionistic. His players take close array. A production to savour.
The orchestra responded with some of the finest playing this season, with Oliver von Dohnanyi in the pit relishing all the nuances of this outstanding score.
What’s on stage